several years ago, istaria was going thru what us old timers call ' the time of trouble'. the ownership changed hands and the new owners (they who shall not be named) seemed to be milking a small cash cow completely dry. to this end, they shut down blight, the testing shard, the weekend just before christmas - with extremely little notice 1 day before the shut down.
this is a letter i posted in the forums concerning that matter.
thanx the lord that the true gods of istaria came to rescue us!!!
memoirs of the cheese queen
Like all good stories, this one starts long before the events it is about. My road to Blight began when a friend I played online posting D&D with told me about a MMORPG. I had no idea what that was, and listened with increasing wonder as he told me about the game he was currently addicted to. Like D&D, you got to create a character and a ship, and you cruised thru the galaxy taking quests, making money, and advancing in levels – AND you got to talk and interact with peeps all over the world while doing it!! The way he described it was like a huge gaming convention.
I signed up for the free 14-day trial and was hooked by the 3rd day. I bought a 6-month subscription and played blissfully for about a month.
Then the news hit – the company that owned my game was shutting it down to bring a more popular PC game to the net. We had six more months to enjoy before it was gone forever (sensing a pattern in my gaming life yet?). With deep grief, I spent the last 6 months of the game doing everything I could in the game, until there was no place available to me that I hadn't explored, no job that I hadn't done, no quest left to take. When the end came, I was deeply sad, but satisfied I had spent the time both well and enjoyably.
I tried some other MMOs, but none of them had the 'wow' factor that ENB had. I thought I had just managed to find the one game that fit me and was settling into a life of bittersweet memory.
Then I started a new job. I met a guy who told me about a game he played, called Horizons. No spaceships, but you can play a dragon, or a lizardman, or a feline! The thought of playing a catwoman piqued my interest and I decided to take a look.
I created Velveeta the saris and stepped out into the world of Istaria. Figuring out how to function are the wages of learning any new game and Horizons was no different, but eventually I learned enough to leave the training island and set paws on the island that I came to despise – New Trismus. Just thinking of it makes me shudder!
But I never felt alone on Blight. I was greeted almost as soon as I popped up on NT, and the camaraderie was immediate and heartfelt.
I was lucky enough to meet god very early. Istaria was still owned by Tulga then, and Blight had its very own deity, who watched over us and kept the world in top shape. Of course, as an almost complete noob, I didn't know that a yellow color text and WM meant that you were in the presence of divine greatness. All I saw as some human male break dancing on the top of the PB/Connie tent in NT. I watched the amusing sight for several minutes before innocently asking who the funny man was.
That funny man was an accessible god, always ready to listen to Blighties and more importantly – take us seriously. Illy never blew us off or made promises he knew he couldn't keep. He worked with us, not against us.
Time passed, and I got to know all the good folks. Ruf, Kirs, Sil, and a bunch of others took me out to the leech motel for server meets, and eventually I didn't even die getting there! Onyx babysat me while I mined cobalt in Kirasanth. Sharp and Sil and Broc and Mora (I never bothered to learn who went with what alt – I just treated them all as individuals! I must have been the only player on Blight with only one alt!) welcomed me into Kraken Guard with open arms and generous hands. There was no one too busy or snotty to help out a noob with answers and/or equipment.
I remember my first RoP. Sharp was making the big step to adulthood and invited this poor little biped to witness. I might have declined the invite if I had known I would need to run thru troops of undead with bows! But my mighty draggy escorts saw me thru relatively safely (well, alive, anyway!) and I got to watch a hatchling change in a bright sphere of light into a big lusty flying machine. In the last days of Blight, I got to experience flight when I was allowed to login to Sharp and take him for one last flight. [pix on the URL I previously sent you. – Treece] I remember my first trip to the Eastern Deadlands. Again, thanx to my entourage of bodyguards, I only died 4 times! Although I never quite memorized the way for myself and always needed a guide, I did eventually get good enough to make the safe area without dying – although I did bring some necroflies with me to the leech motel once of twice!!
I remember the first time Horizons was sold. Illy camped out all night at Brist, in what became known (to me at least) as the holy place. No one felt much like doing anything but hanging out in Brist and spending as much time with Illy as possible. God gave away his stuff, and I was entrusted with his shoulder parrot, promptly renamed Illy, Jr. I promised god I would never remove it, and I never did. I carried my avatar of god proudly and (hopefully) I served as a reminder of the time when we had a voice and an authority in our corner. It was all too brief.
I remember working on my plot. I found a lovely spot (with lots of help, as always) in Clear Port, just over the bridge. Right on the water, with a clear 360 view. The area was almost virgin and I had no neighbors. I designed a Sslik and a Saris house (although I never played him, my brother had his Sslik character, Snake Eyes, on my account) with a fountain and garden of swampy trees. I had tents and silos for storage, a library for my forms, and eventually tore down my connie to put in a Saris hut (cause the hut is prettier!). Snake and I split the construction tasks. He got fitter and mason, I took the wood and fabric. We still would be working on it, if not for the generous help of all the Blighties. Someone was always on who was willing to put in a little work on the thing. I came back after not logging in for a weekend and was told by 15 peeps, before I had even popped up, that my plot was done. I couldn't believe how beautiful it was when complete. Without my Blighties, it would not have been as wonderful as it was.
I remember peeps that would drop what they were doing to make things for me. I don't just mean if they were, say, mining mith, they would make tools. Everyone did that. I mean like Elek halting his hunting to make me an axe. Theros or Colin stopping whatever they are crafting to make me amour. Ryin stopping construction on her plot to make me two sets of cargo gear. This was the essence of Blight. And this wasn't just done for me, but for each other and for noobs who proved themselves worthy.
I appointed myself 'god's Rottie of Blight', speaking of worthy noobs. Many times, especially if the other shards were down for maintenance or some new development was announced in testing on Blight, players from the live shards would come over, with obviously no intentions of staying, to play in Blight while the other shard was down. For the most part, those players were great, and several became devoted Blighties. But there were a couple that thought they could 'improve' Blight by making it more like their home shard. Most Blighties ignored them, but I confess I received great happiness at being argumentive and rude. There is a reason there was no marketplace chat on Blight – we weren't in it for the cash. So, peeps who came to Blight and started telling us we needed to charge more and form 'cartels' or some such – I made sure that they knew I, at least, would not tolerate it.
Well, all good things come to an end, again. At least ENB closed with some grace. How Blight ended was a disgrace. 4 days notice over a holiday weekend….it was sheer luck that I logged in time to get the news so I could scramble and get things done. But I know 85% of the solid Blighties never got the chance to find out until it was way too late. To me, that moves right out of bad customer service zone and firmly into the cold, heartless profit machine zone.
Since I knew from the start that our alts would never be transferred, I created a draggy on Chaos, MourningWood. But the 'wow' factor is gone; it's just not Horizons to me anymore. I play him when I get the itch, but haven't had to scratch for more than a week.
I am watching and waiting on a new game some fellow Blighties are in beta testing with. They say it is fun. But it takes a certain indefinable something for me to get really into a game, and whatever that is, only ENB and Blight had it for me. I will give any new game that comes along a try, just in case - but lightning struck me twice, not sure if it will again, or if I will even want it to. Seems just as I start getting into a game, it ends forever. I am getting too old for that much time, money, and emotional investment to give it to a company that won’t be around next year.